Old world Pesach treats – Irish style

by Alison Kelin

Alison at aWimshul cooks event

Alison at the Wimshul cooks latke morning

Pesach always brings wonderful memories flooding back to me. Growing up in Dublin in the 1960s/70s, I can remember the excitement when the boxes of china, cutlery… came out of the attic, when we went round the house with a candle and feather and when we had to have an afternoon nap before the sedarim.

Best of all are the food memories.  Tables laden with so many goodies that we didn’t have during the rest of the year.  My Mum had two aunts who were in the catering business and going to their homes was such a treat.  Whenever we went to Aunty Bloomie she would open the door and say ‘Oh why didn’t you tell me you were coming.  I have nothing in the house to offer you’.  She would then proceed to bring in so much delicious food that the table was literally groaning.

Some of my favourites for Pesach were:

Imberlach – Carrot Candy

  • 2lbs carrots, grated
  • 1lb sugar
  • 1lb honey
  • 1 lemon – juice and rind
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2oz chopped nuts (optional)

Put everything in a saucepan and simmer slowly until the liquid is all gone.  Spread out on a lined tin (about ½ inch thick) and when it is dry cut into squares.


(which is really for Rosh Hashanah but we had it made on matza cake meal for pesach)

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups matza cake meal
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  •  1/3 cup raisins
  •  ¼ cup chopped nuts
  •    1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  •   2 tsp ginger

Combine the first 5 ingredients (first column).  This is the dough.

Divide it into two.

Roll each into a long strip about 1/8 inch thick and 5 inches wide.

Spread with raisins and nuts and press them into the dough with a rolling pin.

Roll up, pinching the open edge firmly to roll.  Then cut into pieces about 3/8 inch.

Boil the honey and sugar in a deep saucepan.  Turn the heat down low and carefully drop in the strips of dough one at a time.  When all are in cover and continue to simmer for half an hour.  Check it then and turn the strips round so that the ones on the bottom are now on top.  Simmer until they are all golden brown and sound hollow.  Test one.  It should be dry and crisp inside.  Sprinkle the ginger into the syrup and stir.  Turn off the heat and add 2 tbsp boiling water.  Stir.  Remove the teiglach with a slotted spoon and cool.

My Mum also made beetroot jam for Pesach


  • 4lbs of cooked beetroots
  • 3lbs granulated sugar
  • 3 large lemons peeled and sectioned like an orange
  • 6oz split almonds
  • 1 oz ground ginger

Chop the beets up into small pieces.  Put in a large bowl with the sugar and mix well.  Leave overnight.

Next day put the mixture into a large heavy pan with the lemons and its zest.  Bring to the boil, stirring, until all sugar dissolved.  If it is too thick add a little boiling water.  Leave to bubble on a low heat, stirring from time to time, for at least 3 hours when the mixture should have lost its red colour and the beets should be starting to turn brown.

Add the nuts and ginger, taste and add a little more ginger if required.

Bubble for another 15 minutes.

Leave to cool – should thicken as it is cooling.

Ladle into warm jars which have been heated for 10 minutes in a low oven (120C).  Cover when cold.

Just re-reading what I’ve written I realise why we don’t make these delicacies anymore.  They are incredibly time consuming to make and very sugary.  Shame.


One thought on “Old world Pesach treats – Irish style

  1. Pingback: Passover blogging | Wimshul Cooks

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